How do you keep your “stranger safe” this summer? Now that the children are out of school, there is more time for families to make lasting memories of going out to enjoy exhibitions, festivals, and amusement parks. It’s a plan to keep them safe.
Parents, you know there is always increased anxiety and stress when it comes to family outings and when the safety of your family’s safety is on your mind. Not sure where to start? Take a few minutes and get started with a family safety plan by following a few easy steps so it’s not just the kids having fun … you can too!
Before going to an event, tell your child …
… to have fun paying attention to where they are and who they are at all times.
… they shouldn’t be alone in the park or become isolated with anyone, even characters in costume. Tell them not to accept any gifts, offers, or gifts from anyone until they have checked with you FIRST.
… they should be warned not to engage in conversation with or offer assistance to anyone until they have checked with you.
… to let you know when someone approaches them or makes them feel uncomfortable. Tell you kids if they are approached by anyone who tries to get them to shout “This man is not my dad (mom)!” and do whatever they need to (kick, punch, scratch,) to get away from the person.
… if you become separated in the park to go to the nearest “Help / Information Center” to ask people there to “find my parents and bring them to me here at this Center” or, in the case of children older, make the “Help / Information Center” a place where you can “meet up”. Make sure your child understands that they shouldn’t look for you on their own or look for you outside the park, especially in a parking lot.
… this rule also applies when they take part in field trips through their school or youth group. If you are not joining them for the trip they will need to check in advance with and notify the responsible adult responsible or their designated companion if anything goes wrong.
As a parent you must …
… get all the park information before you travel, and review park guidelines, especially with regard to missing children. Discuss information with your family, including what to do if you become separated. As your children what would they do in certain situations, and practice appropriate actions and responses with your children.
… get maps arriving soon, identify “Help / Information Centers” throughout the park and reinforce the idea this is a place for kids to go if you’re separated in the park. Making plans before hand, if you are separated, should greatly speed up the reunion.
… talk to your child about who can help them if they get lost, need help, or are in trouble. Examples: park personnel in nametags or uniforms or mothers in strollers and children.
… never let your child use the public bathroom or change facilities alone.
… don’t put your child’s name prominently on clothing, backpacks, or jewelry.
… make sure your child has an emergency contact number with them in case they need help including your cell phone number.
… put on your kids or have them dress in bright colors so you can easily see them in the park.
… accompany the little ones on trips in the park. Older children should stay in groups and bring friends with them wherever they go in the park. If you decide to let the little ones go up without you, wait with them in line, watch them enter the ride, and meet them immediately when they leave the ride.
… promptly report suspicious or inappropriate behavior to the authorities.
… make sure your child has a change to use the phone. If you have a cell phone or a pager, make sure your kids know the number and how to activate it on the phone. Parents may want to invest in two way radios so that family members can keep in touch with each other.
… report your missing child immediately if you become separated. Be prepared to provide an accurate and detailed description of your child. You must bring a recent photo and get it securelyra accurately describes the clothes the child is wearing
… ensure that there is adequate supervision of children by a responsible adult when granting permission for your child to undertake field trips.
By taking the time to share with your family a safety plan for your next trip to an exhibition, festival or amusement park fun can be had for everyone. Without worrying about missing or missing family members.